Customer Reviews: Sennheiser HD 212 Lightweight Semi-Circumaural Headphones - Silver (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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on April 27, 2003
I am on a quest to find the ideal portable headphones, and the Sennheiser HD 212 is a great contender in this category. On the other hand, I did not keep them. I purchased two different Sennheiser models over the past month, and both were excellent. If you listen to lots of drum heavy music or just like lots of bass, then these are probably the headphones for you. If you like more balance in your music listening, then the HD 497 is probably a better choice.
Now, to the main reason I did not keep either pair. Although I knew neither pair folded or had a convenient storage unit. I was not prepared for the size of either set of headphones. Neither is what I would call portable. I travel frequently, and the jet engine noise ruins my entertainment experience as I am sure most people would agree. The closed design appeals to me, but there is no way to fit these phones in my carry-on bag. If you are planning to use these at home or at your workplace, they are a great buy. If you plan to take them with you all the time, I would suggest looking elsewhere as I am.
I do recommend these based on sound quality, but not on portability.
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on May 16, 2002
I have to say that after having these headphones for about a week I am editing my review of them. Earlier I had given them 4 stars out of 5 because I had not really given them a good testing and now I realize that I may have judged too soon. These are excellent closed headphones for the money with a clear overall sound and powerful bass. Of course, the bass may be an issue because some may find it too powerful and if you are into acoustic music the 497 is probably a better choice in the sennheiser line.
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on November 25, 2003
I'm sure there are audiophiles who will love the HD-212 headphones but these are not for me. The bass is overwhelming and tends to wash out the treble and midrange. I tried comparing this set to my 8-year old Sony MDR-V404s and the Sennheisers were no match in terms of balance, smoothness and comfort.
For pros, I have to admit the noise reduction capabilites are terrific. I can't hear anything from outside, even with the sound turned fairly low. The cord length is generous, and using this to watch movies never sounded better. Supposedly you can remove the cups and the cords, but that was never an area of my concern.
For cons, I have several considerable complaints. One, these headphones are just not comfortable for me. The closed cup design is a tight squeeze on my ears, and I can't listen to anything for more than an hour before I start feeling burdened by the pressure. The bass, often overexaggerated on classical/pop and downright deafening on electronic/trance, starts to give me a headache before I'm done with one CD. The worst thing is how most music in my collection is not properly balanced. I have to do major tweaking with an equalizer before I can get vocals to comfortable levels. Again, midrange and treble suffered a tremendous distortion at the expense of booming lows.
Granted this set was really an experiment for me; this is the first time I've tried Sennheiser and a closed cup design. Unfortunately I can't say these headphones won me over in either category. I'm returning these to Amazon and going back to looking for another Sony to replace an already proven winner.
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on February 15, 2005
I got these headphones six years ago and have had to change the cords twice. They are insanely durable as I take it on flights with me since the isolation works so well. I still can't recommend them enough. They have been great and have still kept up their quality. I will replace the pads next but not more you can ask for at the price.
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on June 22, 2006
I have three different Sennheiser headphones:

The HD202s that lasted over a year ( compared to the Sony Street style headphones that lasted 4 months )

The HD201s that lasted 10 minutes ( the plug connector was freaking out on me, so I am returning it )

And these.

The most obvious difference between all of these is probably the color, and the fact that the HD212s have detachable cords, which btw, IS A GREAT INVESTMENT.

The cables for sennheiser headphones are VERY long, over 10 feet long to be exact. So, because people like me love running around the house, I sometimes forget that they are on my head, and when that happens, I pull the cable very often.

Even though they are built to last, the HD202s started exhibiting sporatic sound in the left ear, and I knew what I had done. ANY searches in trying to revive the great 20 dollar headphones ended up in dead ends, as trying to fix a speaker cable is not the same as simply soldering it into place.

Anyway, I went for these + the HD201s. The HD201s for the price and I wanted to save the 2 dollars, ( big mistake, read my review over there for reasons why )

For the HD212s, I found out what made them 40 dollars vs the HD202s. The only two differences that I could see, was the detachable plug AND the fact that the cushions were felted inside. If you compare the two cushions from the HD202s and the HD212s, you will see that the HD202s have a very thin layer covering the cushion on the inside, while the HD212s were much thicker. This is what causes the "increase" bass response, the fact that there is more cushion in the way.

Overall, There is no really big difference between the HD202s and the HD212s, but if you're like me, and you pull cords a lot, the HD212s is MUCH better in the long run. If you ever happen to break the cord even twice, you saved your money because the cords are 7 dollars from Sennheiser, rather than buying a complete replacement at 20.

BUT if you use it outside, or are very careful with your headphones and don't run around the house with them, buy the HD202s, they are much better with cost. There is absolutely no perceviable difference between the two other than the bass, which you could easily do by putting some soft cloth between your ear and the cushion.
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on August 19, 2005
These were an upgrade from a very pathetic cheap set of headphones I was using to listen to music on my first generation IPOD with.

I didn't know that the other headphones were so pathetic until I plugged these in.

I immediately noticed the "huge difference" in the richness of the bass in the songs I was listening to and the crystal-clear fidelity coming through these things.

I WON'T EVER give these up and go back to the ones I was using without dying first!

Unfortunately, I find the 10 feet of cable provided to be "too much" and I am forced to keep all but 3 or 4 feet of it "bundled up" (using a garbage bag tie) into an awkward "knot" that is a little bit too heavy and it frequently gets in the way.

However, I am forced to admit that the long cable does have a certain advantage in that I can plug the thing into my stereo or my television and listen from across the room as I lay in bed.

The leatherette ear pads (replaceable) are very comfortable and they fit my average-size ears perfectly; but I get the feeling that someone with rather large ears could possibly encounter difficulties wearing them.

Also, the fact that these are not adjustable with respect to head size might give someone who has an extra large mellon on his shoulders some trouble as well in that these might squeeze just "a little too tightly". A solution to that might be to very gingerly stretch the headphones open very wide over and over, not to the point that they would break or damage the plastic, but the stretching just might alleviate their default tension.


This is one of the best things that I have spent money on in the longest time.

I recommend these as a great investment!
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on March 12, 2003
The Sennheiser HD-212 headphones have a clear sound, don't require a headphone amp, yet have lots of bass. For some types of music the bass may be too much, but if you're used to having a good amount of bass, then these are great. I tested the bass response with bass around 35-40 Hz and I was amazed -- I never knew headphones could do this. These are good at blocking out noise and keep others from hearing your music. Not the most comfortable pair I own (that would be the Sennheiser EH-2200, which I'd recommend if you want a more flat response), but it hasn't been a problem.
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on March 22, 2006
I just got these headphones today, and I'm loving them. I've been using them to listen to music on my laptop for about 4 hours straight now, and they're still comfortable. Granted, they get a little warm, and after a little while they make the area around my ears slightly sweaty, but that's going to happen with any large headphones.

The sound quality is great, especially considering that they aren't very expensive. Without even having the volume very high, the bass can actually vibrate my ears, as if I had small subwoofers on my head. I love that. I'm one who likes to have my music so loud that it'll make me completely deaf by the time I'm 25, and these headphones seem more than capable of giving me that kind of sound. I've been through a lot of pairs of stereo headphones in my life, and I've always been partial to Sony, so ordering headphones of a different brand name worried me. However, after hearing these phones and wearing them around for a bit, I've become a fan of Sennheiser headphones for sure.

I'd definitely recommend these headphones to anyone who wants great quality, and great comfort, for a great price.
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on December 15, 2009
Pros: good sound, great bass, VERY durable, decent sound isolation, lightweight, (relatively) cheap price.

Cons: gets uncomfortable after a while, long cord (easily remedied), not fully circumaural (see below).


Sound - 9 of 10
I've compared these to several sets of my old `phones (the nicest of which were a $20 pair of in-ear sony's that I still use occasionally), and I can really hear the difference. These are a lot clearer, and you are enveloped in the sound. Other headphones produced a sort of muddy sound, but with the Sennheiser's I can individually hear every instrument. And the bass! I bought these headphones simply wanting to be able to hear the bass guitar that was usually almost silent. I can finally hear the missing piece of my music! It isn't overpowering, and the quality (like everything else) is superb. It also gives the bass drum a nice full sound.


Sound isolation - 6 of 10
These headphones do an alright job of not letting noise in or out. Music playing at medium volume is enough to render other people's voices too quiet to understand, though you can still hear them. Frankly, I don't really care if a little bit of sound gets in, and if you're the type of person who does you probably won't be getting these anyway.

As for sound getting out, you have to play it rather loud for other people to get an idea of what you're listening to.


Comfort - 7 of 10
Let me clear up an item of confusion (at least it was for me). Supra-aural headphones only rest directly outside the ear, while circumaural (A.K.A full-size) headphones completely surround the ear. The Sennheiser HD 212's are semi-circumaural, which means they mostly surround the ear, but the bottom part of the ear-cup rests on top of the ear lobe. This still provides the seal needed for better sound isolation and bass, and gives you a smaller profile (if you give a crap about that- I don't). But having the ear-cup rest partly on the ear rather than completely on the head comes at a cost: comfort.

After an hour of wearing them without any breaks, there was slight discomfort; after another hour it was uncomfortable, getting close to painful. This usually isn't a problem for me as I take them off and put them off throughout the day, but this could be something to seriously consider if you wear headphones for hours on end.


Durability - 10 of 10
Another reason I wanted to get some nice headphones; I could never get a cheap $10 set to last more than a few months. These have lasted 10 months (and still counting!) through being dropped, yanked, and splashed (with more than just water). Yes, the paint is starting to chip, but who freakin' cares!? As if looks affect me in the least.

The 212's also have a very useful feature; the wire actually unplugs from the ear-cup. That means whenever you stand up to find the cord caught on something, your nice headphones incur exactly ZERO damage. I love it!

Update: Just today, I was hit in the face with one of those bouncy-ball things that you sit on while these were around my neck. The ear cup popped right off; I snapped it right back on, and no damage was done whatsoever. :)


Convenience - 8 of 10
I think these are more convenient than my ear-buds, actually. When I'm not listening, I can just hang them around my neck, rather than coiling them up or stuffing them into my pocket. The only ever-so-slightly annoying thing is the 10-foot long cord. This isn't really a problem for me; I put a rubber band around the excess and attached it to the back of my leather iPod case (yes, my source is an iPod, please don't go on a discriminatory rant all you audiophiles). Actually, it's almost a plus as now when I drop my iPod, the jack is not stressed at all; another durability plus.

As a side note, these weighed in at 6.5 ounces. Pretty good, huh?


Other considerations
There is one very important thing you have to know. When I first got these headphones, I was underwhelmed. I didn't notice much of a difference between them and my $20 'phones. However, as time progressed I could really tell the difference.

This seems to be evidence for the idea that most headphones require a 'break-in period'. Some people say to play music for 24+ hours at maximum volume to do this, but I think that would present a danger of blowing the drivers. Perhaps constantly playing music through them for a week or so at a more reasonable volume will more safely attain the goal? A second possibility is that I have just become more able to hear the difference in the sound quality.

Regarding the actual music, I listen to mostly alternative-metal (I think? It's a confusing subject); mainly P.O.D., Pillar, and few other songs (like The Fashion by illScarlett, and a little bit of Authority Zero). These headphones serve my purpose very well.

Also as mentioned, my source is an iPod. While most audiophiles seem to think of it as a piece of garbage, I personally do not believe anyone at this listening level will notice a difference (I don't).

It should also be noted that because I have owned these for a while, they've loosened up a bit and don't clamp my head quite as much as they used to. This makes them a little more comfortable, but also makes them a little less sound isolating. If you wanted to maintain the clampy-ness, you might be able to stick rubber bands around the head band overnight or something.


Bottom Line
These are a great pair of headphones for those like me who love bass, want set of headphones that will last, and are not willing to drop $100+ just for a set of `phones. If you mainly listen to music without very much bass, or you wear them for extended periods of time (as stated above) you may want to look elsewhere.
Definitely worth the money, I would have paid even more.

Final rating: 9 of 10

P.S. This is my first review; comments/questions would be much appreciated :)
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on March 1, 2006
This is the best pair of headphones you can get for under 100 dollars. These look nice, are very comfortable and light-weight, have AMAZING sound, and replaceable cables in case they snap, or simply stop working. You can also remove the earcups for more portability. Some say that there is too much bass on these earphones. There is more bass than other headphones, some may like it, some may not (I personally love it). The cord is generous, just about 9 feet long, but it gets in the way sometimes. It's hard to put my MP3 player in my pocket and have to stuff an additional 5 feet of cord in my pocket just so the cord doesn't drag on the ground. I understand that it was intented for home entertainment (ie. connecting to your stereo and going across the room), but it's a bit inconvenient if you're going to use it for your MP3 player. That is the ONLY problem with these earphones, and definitely don't let that steer you away from these headphones, because this set of headphones will make your ears and your wallet happy.
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